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#41 Alchemist

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:04 PM

We're so thrilled about the NG development in PA. Dominion is trying to put in a compressor station 1/2 from our house so they can pump more NG to a facility they are getting permission to use for export sales of CNG. It will increase our noise level to that of a busy highway 24/7 (2x-4x increase in sound volume). We don't even have residential NG in our area.


Mark, I'm sorry. This has got to be a real heartbreaker after all the effort you've invested in your place.

#42 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:19 PM

Dominion "tested the waters" in two other towns along their pipeline was decided to move up the line because of community pressures south of us. Members of the community south of us found Dominion the property they are considering near us. We're hoping that the community pressure here will cause Dominion to find a more industrial or less populated area for their project.

I got curious about the Leaf in terms of the marketing spin that it uses less fossil fuel. Based upon the EPA rating of 34 kWh/100 mile, efficiencies of coal and NG power generation, and our curret mix of power generation (coal, NG, nuclear, petrolium, wind, PV, hydro, etc) a grid recharged Leaf would consume the same amount of fossil fuel (in terms fo BTUs) as a 35-40mpg gasoline powered car.

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#43 juliepoudrier

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:31 PM

There was a discussion on NPR regarding the Leaf. The problem that was noted was the Nissan's claims of 100 miles on a charge aren't entirely accurate and that the average was closer to 65. In a country like ours, with people making long commutes, I don't see how electric cars are entirely practical. I go 73 miles one way to my vet, and the rehab vet is 80+ miles away. I couldn't make it on one charge.....

Here is the article.

The most interesting bit in the story was the fact that Henry Ford's wife (I think) drove an electric car.

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

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Julie Poudrier
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Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis and mule sheep



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#44 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:43 PM

Like ethanol as fuel, EVs are not new ideas.
In 1900, 28% of the cars produced in the USA were electric.
Detroit Electric's car (Clara Ford's EV) was said to get 80 miles on one charge in the very early 1900s.

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#45 OurBoys

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:48 PM

The most interesting bit in the story was the fact that Henry Ford's wife (I think) drove an electric car.

J.

The technology for battery operated cars have been around for a long time. I don't know if it's true but the way I understand it, the oil companies buy the rights to them and then sit on them.

Besides getting away from so much heat and humidity another reason we want to live in a higher elevation is for the wind. We're hoping when we build our retirement home, we can/will utilize as much wind/solar power as possible.

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#46 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:01 PM

Solar hot water systems have a faster payback period than PV systems. Domestic hot water and in floor radiant heating systems can be powered off solar hot water panels.

Our hot water system has an estimated payback period of 5 years (we were heating our water with oil).
PV systems I've looked at (with MD grants & fed credits) have payback periods of 10-15 years.
The little reading I've done on wind the payback period is also 10-15 years.
Geothermal systems are very efficient and are a good alternative IF building a new house; retro fit costs can be very high.

There's nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.

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#47 Alchemist

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:09 PM

Julie, I listened to the exact same NPR story this morning; it was sufficiently interesting to finally wake me up.

Mark (and anyone else interested), the major environmental advantage to an all-electric car would be if "cleaner" sources of electricity could be found. Such as solar energy (with greenhouse gas emissions limited to solar panel manufacture), or that (at present, anyway) oxymoron, "clean coal" (where you might have a chance of capturing CO2 in a more concentrated stream at the plant). But.... even if the electricity used to charge electric cars were generated by conventional coal (the dirtiest fuel), there is still an advantage to be found IF the coal-fired plants generating the electricity had their acts in gear in terms of their emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, both of which are major causes of air pollution. (Not to mention emissions of mercury and a whole host of other problems associated with coal). It's a whole lot easier to control emissions from one stationary source (a coal-fired power plant) than from a gazillion automobiles, even with auto inspections.

The cleaner the source of electricity, the better the electric cars look (from the perspective of local air pollution).

At the moment we're clearly not where we need to be (either in terms of distance or a recharging infrastructure or a source of clean electricity) to make electric cars any real part of a fix for global climate change. Still... there's a big "chicken and egg" question in terms of switching over to electric cars. No one is going to do it until they're inexpensive and convenient, but until people start buying them, there's no demand for a charging infrastructure, and the cost of the cars will be high.

My last off-topic post, too, though I will say that one of the things I'm wrestling with in wanting to move farther out from the city and buy some land is the compromise I'd be making in terms of my own carbon footprint. It's a situation of wanting to practice what I preach...




#48 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:19 PM

I understand it is easier to deal with centralized emissions (I've made the same argument) but there still is equivalent consumption of the limited resources of fossil fuels with our current power generation.
EVs do have the promise of recharging with renewables.
Currently, carpooling and mass transit offer the greatest impact on both emissions and fossil fuel consumption.

There are other places to reduce your carbon footprint that could have a greater combined effect than the increase due to personal transportation with a move out of the city (i.e. maximize "slow food " by growing more of your own, more efficient residence, etc).

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#49 Alchemist

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:45 PM

Mark, I agree that there are steps everyone can (and should) do to reduce their environmental impact/enhance sustainability. While I support the "slow food" movement for a whole lot of reasons (and I finally this year convinced my spouse that we should switch to pasture-raised meats for such reasons, which range from human health to environmental sustainability to ethical treatment of animals), and we also buy most of our produce (in season) locally from a farmer's market (our own attempts to grow cherry tomatoes, herbs, and chard this year having failed, dismally, lacking the key ingredient of sun in our yard), you have to cut back on a LOT of electricity to compensate for the CO2 emitted from automobiles unless you're lucky enough to be able to carpool or use public transportation. We did have a home energy audit conducted a few years ago, and have been working our way through some of the recommendations (including a new, ultra-efficient furnace and air conditioner, both of which we use as little as possible), but the fact of the matter is that most American's lifestyle simply isn't sustainable, even if we do all we can to cut back on profligate use of resources.

This program is fun to play with to see how much effect individual actions can have on your carbon footprint: http://www.footprint...ge/calculators/

#50 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 02:46 PM

I took it. We have more acres of pasture than the global acres needed to support our lifestyle.
There is no place to enter our solar hot water system.
There is no way to offset our meat consumption by producing the meat ourselves.
There is no place for fuel oil consumption.

There's nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.

Bill Nye


#51 ejano

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:47 PM

to go way off topic - west virginia, a beautiful state, is , and has been for some time, being pillaged for it's abundence of natural resources. as a small, poor state, jobs and money are often welcome even though the we know what the consequences may be. it's not always black and white. we all want jobs to support our families, we all want tons of energy, cheap, and we would love to be independent of foreign oil. most of us want a better envioronment. how to acheive all of these things is complicated and expensive. and even though WV is a hot bed of coal, shale, windmills, power plants and power lines, i'd say over 85% of all that energy is sent elsewhere- PA, MD, VA, DC, NY etc.
jumping off soapbox now, slightly blushing.


Very good points! What is happening here reminds me a bit of the coal rush in West Virginia in the late 19th and early 20th century, which I researched it extensively as background for a novel.

Having started this "left turn," I'll send it back again, seconding Mark's suggestion to do extensive research of not only the property, but of the area you'd like to relocate to --research potential major infrastructure projects, the zoning protections in place and the level of community involvement in the government decision making process. Subscribe to the local paper -- what are the hot button issues? Does anyone seem to care?

Liz

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#52 OurBoys

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 07:12 PM

Alchemist, that's scary. Our present house is leaving a very large carbon footprint even though we recycle, make compost and do as much as possible. Thank you for sharing that link.

I/we definitely need to research the infrastructure projects. Mark, from what I've gathered, geothermal is big in Oregon. That was a plus for us. Now I need to see where NC stands with it.

Brenda

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#53 juliepoudrier

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 07:33 PM

I took the carbon footprint test and I really think it's a bit to generalized to be very accurate. But I guess it's a reasonable general education tool if it gets people thinking about their carbon footprint.

(For example, it asks how you heat your house, but it doesn't ask where you keep the thermostat, which makes a huge difference in your electricity consumption. It doesn't ask if you use, for example, energy star appliances, just how often you buy appliances. And so on.)

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh



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Julie Poudrier
New Kent, VA
Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
Willow's Rest, Tunis and mule sheep



Visit me on Facebook at Poudrier and Crowder, Set Out Specialists (P&C, SOS)


#54 OurBoys

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:28 PM

The time of day you use most of your electricity also isn't one of the questions. FWIW, the Smart Meters they are installing now will let you know though. And you're charged a higher rate per hour during the high useage times. I hope wind/solar will help us there in the future. Our next house will have 6" exterior walls like this one too.

We're also going to grow as much fruit and vegetables as we can and I'm going to learn how to use a pressure canner. Hopefully, we won't need 2 freezers. And I'm wondering if we should think about having a root cellar.

I know all this is going to cost us a lot initially but I'm thinking ahead to when/if we only have our SS. (DH has a 401k but who can trust the stockmarket?)

Brenda

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#55 Alchemist

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 09:07 PM

For sure the ecological footprint calculator is an extremely crude tool. (If it weren't, it'd take people forever to input their data, and people would abandon the effort; it would lose any ability to make people think twice about their way of life). Its advantage is mainly in playing "what if" scenarios: how much difference would it make if I carpooled? if I were vegetarian? if I ate locally? if I were able to reduce the number of miles I drove each week by biking to work? and so forth. The sobering part is that even with fairly draconian changes, it's still hard to pursue a "sustainable" lifestyle.

You can Google "ecological footprint calculator critique" if you want to learn more about the weaknesses inherent to such simple calculations.

#56 ejano

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 09:42 AM

An interesting exercise. I put in my gas mileage (poor) and an Ford SUV dropped into the driveway, which is what I drive! Perhaps the meat consumption is figured in the acreage need to support the person, whether their own or someone else's. There is a "green" option for housing that might be helpful. I require 18 acres, mostly I think because of the amount of beef we eat, but it is pasture raised in our area, so that offsets it a bit, I think. I "have" 45 acres on which to raise things to support me and we try to do a good job at that, at least vegetable and fruits. When I can, I preserve my own vegetables and fruits, mainly because it tastes better and I know what I'm eating. It's not significantly cheaper to do this by the time you amortize the cost of the land, tiller, fencing, time spent, and the cost of preserving the food. I think I broke even on jelly.

Raising one's own beef is too big of an investment in time and money, so we buy locally "on the hoof" along with chicken and pork. Oddly, dairy products are probably my biggest consumers of carbon as the source of these is always the grocery store and these products travel quite a distance. Our heat is coal (local anthracite)and wood from the farm, supplemented by fuel oil -- in spite of starting to produce significant natural gas, we've got no access to it and likely won't in the near future.

When I was growing up, my parents and grandparents raised nearly every bit of produce, meat, milk, eggs, that we had on the table. Their only purchases were "staples". I do know people who, except for a few significant items (fuel and some food), continue to support themselves mainly on what they grow. It is possible, but nearly a full time occupation. And in the end, especially depending on where you get animal grain and hay, it may well be as big a "footprint" as buying at the grocery. That would be interesting to try to calculate as this program takes into account only the distance food travels, not the investment in growing it.

Edit -- a cool place in which to store root vegetables seems almost mandatory for this kind of lifestyle.

No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
---Louis Sabin - All about Dogs as Pets.

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#57 Bill Orr

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 01:40 PM

A good website for searching property in the West is www.windemere.com. You can enter acreage and min and max price along with other criteria.

All due respect to my former neighbors in the SE, but your access to trials in NC is nothing compared to Oregon. We moved from upstate SC 5 years ago to SW Oregon and love it.

Acreage really depends on the nature of each specific piece, but I can' imagine a decent working arangement on less than 5 acres. Just like sheep, you'll never have exactly what you need for training (unless maybe your favorite uncle is Ted Turner).

Get in contact if you decide to pursue Oregon. A lot of strangers (at the time) helped us.

B

#58 OurBoys

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:25 PM

Thanks for the info, Bill. I have a feeling it'll be too expensive for us to live out there but I'll keep looking just in case.

In the meantime, how does the shape of this parcel look to you guys? DH is wanting to be away from the road so we can't hear cars going by. I'm thinking (depending on the topo of the land of course) that we could build in the back and have everything else in front.

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ETA: It's the 5.74 acres in outlined in darker blue.

Brenda

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#59 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 07:14 AM

For training purposes, you'll need to see the land in person. Outrun distances (for training) are limited by line of sight. Our last place was 6 acres but the way the land laid we only have 100yrd outruns.

There's nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.

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#60 Debbie Meier

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 11:20 AM

Brenda, just from the outline it looks like that parcel could really be difficult to work with. I don't know what expenses would be incurred for the long driveway and having power supplied to the back of the property. Are you going to have your own well and septic area or would it be on county/city supplied water and sewer, length of run from the road could cost more, not certain. Also, if you are going to put in a septic area what would the estimated size and mandated distances from property lines and buildings?

Something that we think about is that there are also some areas that have minimum distances for kennels from propery lines.
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